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Christina Wood

For more travel planning articles by Chris, check out her Disney travel blog, Everything Walt Disney World. Chris is also a member of the Mouse Chat podcast team and an authorized Disney travel planner with Pixie Vacations, and visits the parks about 55 days each year. To get free planning and assistance with your next Disney vacation, please call her at 919-889-5281 or email at [email protected]. You may also fill out a quick Disney Vacation Quote form here.

Top Five Disney Hotels for Adults.

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


Planning an adult-only trip to the World?  Some may scoff at the location for grown up guests, but Disney World is actually the number one honeymoon destination in the country, and with good reason: Gorgeous hotels, plenty of activities in the parks and the surrounding areas, and amazing food for every palate.  For adults who like a vacation that mixes the ability to relax and indulge with just plain old-fashioned fun, Disney World is ideal. But what about the resorts? Some resorts just scream “kid-friendly” but others cater more to adult tastes. Here’s my top five.

5. Port Orleans French Quarter.

Ask a Disney travel agent what her go-to resort is and she’ll probably tell you French Quarter and for good reason: It’s small enough that you can get around easily, so you don’t have to book a preferred room to ensure you’re close to dining and the buses, and it’s got plenty for kids to do, but it looks like a grown up resort. Couple that with affordability and you have a budget-friendly , grown up choice.

Beds with Fiber Optics

Beds with Fiber Optics

4. The Polynesian.

When the rooms at the Poly were refurbished last year, my opinion of this resort changed completely. I always loved the grounds, the pools, the beach, and romantic lighting at night, but the rooms left a lot to be desired. In fact, they looked like something the Brady Bunch would have stayed in circa 1972. The refurb changed all that. Now the rooms are brighter and more elegant, with a more modern take on the Hawaiian theme. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of construction going on here for the next year so I can’t recommend that you travel there for the next year or so, but I think it’s going to be amazing when it’s compete.  If you still want a little bit of that Polynesian romance, stop by for a drink–the lapu lapu comes in a pineapple–at night and go down to the beach and watch the fireworks.

3. Animal Kingdom Lodge/Wilderness Lodge.

The lighting, the animals, the dining: this is simply a beautifully themed resort. In fact, I would say it’s the most well-themed resort on property.  Make sure you check out the large fire pit out on the savanna viewing area at Jambo House or eat at Jiko, one of Disney’s best signature restaurants.  One thing that sets this resort apart from others is the landscaping around the pools. Most Disney resorts are a bit short on poolside foliage, but Animal Kingdom lodge is green and shady. The result is that you’ll find quiet places to read and nap, away from the hustle and bustle of families enjoying their day at the pool.Read More »Top Five Disney Hotels for Adults.

The Top Five Secrets of Booking a Disney Cruise.

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


Planning a cruise is not as difficult as planning to Disney World, where I regularly encounter my clients’ six-page spreadsheets, make multiple dining changes, and spend a couple of hours just picking out fastpasses. While it’s not as simple as just showing up for your cruise, cruising, truthfully, is easy. That’s what makes it so great. Booking your cruise, however, can be a little bit tricky. Here are some pointers to make the process a little less confusing.

5. Book as early as possible.

The biggest reason to book your cruise as early as you can is that you’ll pay less. Cruise lines all raise prices based on availability–as room categories fill up, the price of the remaining rooms under that category increases. It’s simple supply and demand.

In addition to saving money, booking early allows you to get your first pick of dining times. If you have young children, an early dining time is usually ideal. Finally, booking early allows you to pick your cabin, so you have more deck and location choices. While deck choices are a personal opinion, most guests like mid-ship, so those will fill up first.

4.  Don’t pay for insurance until you’re final payment is due.

You can cancel your cruise for any reason prior to your final payment date and get a full refund, no question asked (exceptions for concierge), but if you have insurance added, you won’t get that money back. Since you can add insurance any time before final payment, just wait until then and then add it. But don’t forget–otherwise you’re probably out of luck.Read More »The Top Five Secrets of Booking a Disney Cruise.

Five things my clients have taught me about traveling to Walt Disney World

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


One of the fun things about my job is that I usually learn something from each person I send to Disney World. Maybe it’s something odd, like the best parts of the alligator to eat (yes, this happened), but more often than not, I learn something useful I can pass onto the next client.  You’d be surprised how different each client’s approach to their trip can be and what can happen on your average Disney vacation. Here are a few of my favorite lessons:

5.  Plan carefully. And then plan some more.

Walt Disney World covers 47 square miles. There are four parks, two water parks, Downtown Disney, golf courses, 26 hotels, and more than 200 restaurants. It’s going to take some planning to ensure that you see and do everything you want. Make your dining reservations as far out as possible. If you’re staying on property, get those fastpasses chosen at 60 days out. I’m not an over-planner by any means, but the new system under MyDisneyExperience means you really need to put some thought into your trip; fortunately, it’s also very easy to do and doesn’t take that much time.

The corollary to this, of course, is that if you over plan you’re going to lose your mind, especially if you’re traveling with a larger group.  So make that spreadsheet, use your MDE account, but take it all with a grain of salt. Sometimes you just have to let the magic happen.Read More »Five things my clients have taught me about traveling to Walt Disney World

The Pros and Cons of Free Dining.

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog. As you probably know by now, Disney has announced free dining for the fall of 2014. As usual, Disney fans are in a complete… Read More »The Pros and Cons of Free Dining.

Top Five Restaurants for Dessert and Drinks.

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


There are a ton of great places to eat on Disney property and I’ve tried most of them (and I’m working on the ones I haven’t!), but what if you just want drinks and a quick, sweet snack later at night? The good news is, most restaurants have a bar attached or nearby that serves the restaurant’s menu. I’ve compiled a list here which is by no means complete, but I think it’s close to the best choices for a quick late night nosh on property.

5.  Brown Derby Lounge in Disney Hollywood Studios (pictured above).

Confession: This location, part of one of my favorite signature restaurants, is kind of a cheat: You’re not exactly in the restaurant. Instead, you’ll eat outside in the lounge area, a pretty little walk-up place that lets you people watch and snack. It’s especially nice in the early evening, when you’re “snack” hungry but want something a little more upscale than a Mickey Bar or a carrot cake cookie. Bonus: If you want something that’s not sweet, they have great tapas-style plates.

4.  Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot’s UK Pavilion.

Well, it’s a British-style pub so it’s kind of a given that you’ll find great beers on tap plus a lively crowd that gets even livelier after dark, but if you’ve got a hankering for something sweet, try the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s a caramel, moist, pudding-like British tradition that deserves your attention right now if you haven’t tried it yet.  Oh, and don’t share. I mean, share your beer if you must, but keep the dessert to yourself.Read More »Top Five Restaurants for Dessert and Drinks.

Pirates League – A Great Experience for Girls, Too.

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


If you’re looking for a fun alternative to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the Magic Kingdom, check out The Pirate’s League, a lessor-known makeover that’s just as fun and costs about half as much.  Prices run from $30 to $80; higher prices include a costume, but that’s optional. Girls can be pirates of any variety they choose, or they can be a dramatic pirate Empress, with elaborate make up and stick-on “jewels” on their faces.  You can also get a mermaid makeover, which is very elaborate and includes scales and a pretty hairdo!


The Pirate’s League is located right next to Pirates of the Caribbean and it’s open every day of the year from 9:00 am to around 5:00 pm.  You’ll want to make reservations well in advance to get a convenient time that works around your dining and fastpasses. It’s decorated exactly like you would expect–if pirates had a salon they regularly visited for makeovers.

There are lots of pirate “artifacts’ and of course, treasures, decorating the place, as well as a few secrets you’ll have to find out about later (we had to promise, pirate’s honor, that we wouldn’t tell).Read More »Pirates League – A Great Experience for Girls, Too.

Would You Pay $12.95 for a Magic Band?

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog. Offsite guests can now buy MagicBands for use in the parks. You’ll pay $12.95 for each band, which will store your fastpasses and your… Read More »Would You Pay $12.95 for a Magic Band?

Coordinating Your Dining with Fastpass+ at Disney World

This post brought to you by Christina Wood of Pixie Vacations, the preferred Disney vacation travel planner of The Disney Blog.


Back when Disney opened up dining reservations for guests 180-days in advance of travel, there was  a lot of grumbling about how this meant too much planning and took a lot of the spontaneity of your trip. And they were right. It’s difficult to predict what you’ll want to eat next week, much less six months in advance. Add to that variables like heat, crowd levels, sick kids, grumpy uncles, and the occasional cash flow problem and it can be downright stressful to plan your meals that far in advance.  But here we are years later and most of us have adapted to the system just fine. Of course, now there’s a new wrench thrown into your plans: Fastpass+.

With Fastpass+, you’ll plan your fastpasses up to 60 days prior to travel (30 for off site guests).  Since you’re already planning your meals months before that, you’ll need to plan your fastpasses around those meals. Fortunately, if you’re using My Disney Experience and you’ve either made your reservations with that system or adding your confirmation numbers to your profile, your dining reservations will pop up when you make your fastpass selections, alerting you to any overlap.  You’ll choose your three fastpasses and then be offered up to four groups to select from. The first one is supposed to be ideal and usually doesn’t conflict with your dining time, but the rest will often have an overlap for at least one ride. Don’t fret about that. Instead, make your selection and once you’ve processed it, go back in and change that time–you’ll usually be given several other options.

So how do you organize all this?  I know a lot of you don’t like all this planning and what I’m seeing is that for the average guest, it seems like a lot of extra work, but with a little extra thought, it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a timeline to help:Read More »Coordinating Your Dining with Fastpass+ at Disney World